Drink: Uncorked at Due Amici
When I first got hired at Alive, Due Amici was the place I imagined I'd be going every night. File some stories, put on a smoking jacket and retire into the low-lit brick confines for a nightcap and some lively discussion of the day's news.
It hasn't worked out quite that way (a weekly magazine's actually a lot of work), but the swanky Gay Street anchor is always there when I need a little dose of Downtown sophistication. The restaurant wears its gorgeous decor and urbane yet inviting charm like a well-tailored tuxedo.
Though they proffer high-end food and drink, Due's owners clearly like to show patrons a good time on the cheap. The latest chance to do so is Uncorked, a celebration of wine, food and jazz every Monday.
Due's top-notch menu includes hot and cold dishes, authentic Italian classics and plenty of things to share. Appetizers and pizzas run two-for-one from 4-7 p.m., so grab a few to sample.
Start with the Antipasto for Two ($15) - a giant piece of porcelain topped with fresh cold cuts, bean-and-goat-cheese puree and several seasonal salads dressed with a light vinegar glaze. Finish things off with the Margherita Pizza ($13), which comes topped with mozzarella, basil and sliced tomatoes.
Wine-wise, Due branches further from the Boot to offer a healthy selection of red and white, sweet and dry. All bottles are served at half-price during Uncorked - which means you get an entire container for the price of two glasses. (Isn't math fun?)
For a surprising value, try the Badia al Colle ($28), a rich Chianti with pleasant fruit notes that went perfectly with the antipasto meats and basil aromas.
Due was built for smooth sounds - and picked the perfect trio to bring them in every week. Local legends Derek DiCenzo, Jim Castoe and Mark Flugge jam out bop, West Coast and standards from 6-9 p.m.
67 E. Gay St., Downtown
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
4-7 p.m.: Two-for-one appetizers and pizzas
4-10 p.m.: Half-price bottles of wine and champagne